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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Differential interleukin-2 and interferon-gamma production by human lymphocyte cultures exceptionally resistant to Epstein-Barr virus immortalization.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) readily immortalizes human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) in vitro. However, during the past several years, we found that PBL from two exceptional EBV-seropositive healthy adult individuals were refractory to immortalization by EBV. We report here a study aimed at learning about the immunobiological features which differentiate these EBV-resistant (R) PBL from others which are susceptible (S) to EBV immortalization. Results of this investigation indicate that: (a) Following EBV infection, R-PBL produced significantly higher amounts of interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) than S-PBL. There were however no differences in regard to interferon alpha production between these two types (R and S) of EBV-infected cultures. (b) R-PBL had a maximal interleukin-2 (IL-2) production by S-PBL occurred at least 48 hr later, i.e., at Day 7. (c) The percentage of non-B cells expressing the IL-2 receptor was also higher in EBV-infected R-PBL than S-PBL. (d) In contrast, expression of IL-2 receptors after EBV infection was higher on B cells from S-PBL than on B cells from R-PBL. Interestingly, no differences were noted in regard to IL-2 receptor expression between R-PBL and S-PBL treated with mitogens (i.e., phytohemagglutinin and pokeweed mitogen). (e) Finally, using anti-IL-2 and anti-IFN-gamma antibodies in EBV-infected R-PBL cultures, we were able to obtain EBV-induced immortalization of these cultures. Taken together, these results suggest that an early IL-2 synthesis and high IFN-gamma production by EBV-infected PBL play an important role against lymphocyte immortalization by EBV.[1]


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